May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other… May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NIV
Paul does not give a formula to grow the church’s faith. Instead, he moves into prayer. Why? Because this kind of faith is a work of God.
Paul knows he cannot simply give this kind of faith to people. You can’t get this kind of faith from your parents, a pastor, a coach, a mentor, a small group, a class, or even an apostle.
This kind of faith comes from God. When Paul prays that God will strengthen these people, he is putting faith into practice himself. “Lord, what I have just described is something that only you can do.”
We live in a culture where many people have a faith that’s like a house built on sand. When trouble comes, the whole thing collapses. But this is not authentic Christian faith. Authentic faith comes from God. It is a work of the Holy Spirit who gives you what you do not have and creates in you what you cannot produce. That means you can ask God to give you this kind of faith.
You can come to Him and say, “I need you, Lord. I cannot stand without you. All the strength I can muster is a puny thing in the face of life, death, and eternity. My faith is insufficient for this life, for these trials, for this enemy. So give me your Spirit. Fill me with your power. Cause me to stand firm.” Seek Him. Lay hold of Him. Ask of Him. Believe in Him. And receive from Him.
What do you know of the kind of faith that stands firm even when it is pounded by trials and temptation?